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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Clarke guides Australia to victory

Clarke guides Australia to victory

June 28, 2008 08:02 IST

- Scorecard

Australia steamrolled a listless West Indies team by 63 runs on Friday to claim a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five limited overs series.

Chasing Australia's 213 for five, the hosts managed a reply of 140 for eight from 41 rain-reduced overs under the Duckworth-Lewis scoring method, in what was by far their most disappointing outing of the tour thus far.

The West Indies must win the next one-day international at Grenada's National Stadium on Sunday to keep the series alive, or risk a whitewash at the hands of Ricky Ponting's side.

Australian paceman Brett Lee set the tone for the afternoon by removing Xavier Marshall with the first ball of the West Indian innings.

The dismissal provided debutant wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi, a replacement for the injured Brad Haddin, with the rare distinction of claiming a catch from his first delivery in one-day international cricket.

Wickets fell at a steady rate thereafter, eroding any hope of an upset home victory.

Michael Clarke, following on from his resolute innings of 56 earlier in the day, finished with figures of 3-26, while Shane Watson (2-22), Lee (1-26), Mitchell Johnson (1-14) and James Hopes (1-19) rounded out the Australian wicket-takers' list.

Australia might well have closed out the West Indian innings sooner, if not for a rain delay and several decisions that fell the way of the hosts.

Replays suggested Johnson and Clarke were unfortunate not to have removed Chris Gayle and Patrick Browne although both bowlers returned to claim the batsmen's wickets later in the innings.

As was the case in the Test series, the task fell upon Shivnarine Chanderpaul to hold the West Indian innings together.

The determined left-hander led his side with an unbeaten 45 from 77 deliveries, but with wickets tumbling around him, his efforts were insufficient to save the match for the hosts.

RAIN DELAY

The West Indies had been set the revised total of 204 from 41 overs due to the mid-innings rain delay after fine opening spells from the pace duo of Jerome Taylor (2-47) and Daren Powell (1-29) had denied Australia a brisk start.

Taylor trapped Shane Watson for a duck lbw with the last ball of the first over and Australia were further reduced when Powell had Shaun Marsh caught behind for 12.

Taylor returned to remove Ponting, playing his 300th one-day international, for 13 to leave the tourists reeling at 53 for three before 10 overs had been completed.

But a steady 100-run partnership between Clarke and Michael Hussey steadied the ship.

Clarke eventually fell lbw to Sulieman Benn for 56 and Hussey was caught at long-on by Xavier Marshall off Dwayne Bravo for 62 but by then Australia were well on their way to building their winning total.

Source:
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